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Tue, Nov 21, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Finance
SGX announces alliance

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) said yesterday it will form an alliance with the Korea Exchange, a move in line with its long-term plan to forge partnerships with regional bourses. A memorandum of understanding to formalize the alliance will be signed tomorrow, SGX said in a statement. The alliance will include discussions on setting up a derivatives co-trading link with Korea Exchange, SGX said. SGX has formed working partnerships with other bourses including the Jakarta Stock Exchange and Bursa Malaysia.

■ Banking

Mitsubishi UFJ profits fall

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the world's largest bank by assets, said yesterday its net profits fell by 28.7 percent in the six months to September because of reduced gains from bad loan write-backs. The bank reported interim net earnings of ¥507.2 billion (US$4.3 billion) after combined profits of ¥711.7 billion a year earlier at Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group and UFJ Holdings which merged in October last year. The drop was primarily due to a decline of ¥211.8 billion in the reversal of allowances for loan losses which are accounted for as extraordinary gains, the bank said. Net gains on debt securities also declined by ¥65.7 billion from a year earlier.

■ Steel

Evraz to buy US steel firm

The Russian steel giant Evraz is to buy US firm Oregon Steel Mills for US$2.3 billion, providing the Russian group with a "footprint" in North America, Evraz said yesterday. The two companies "have signed a definitive agreement under which Evraz will acquire Oregon Steel for US$63.25 per share, or an aggregate price of approximately US$2.3 billion," Evraz said in a statement. The deal follows speculation about Evraz's plans to create a Russian powerhouse with extensive international holdings.

■ Conglomerates

Kim decides not to appeal

The former chairman of collapsed South Korean conglomerate Daewoo has not appealed an eight-and-a half-year prison sentence for embezzlement and accounting fraud within the legal timeframe, a court official said yesterday. Kim Woo-choong had a week to contest the Seoul High Court's Nov. 3 conviction, which also ordered him to pay back 18 trillion won (US$19 billion) and pay a fine of 10 million won. Daewoo collapsed under massive debts in the wake of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, when the South Korean government was forced to accept a US$58 billion International Monetary Fund bailout. It was unclear why Kim decided not to appeal.

■ Real Estate

Blackstone agrees buyout

Blackstone Group LP, manager of the world's largest buyout fund, agreed to buy Equity Office Properties Trust, the largest US office landlord, for about US$20 billion in the biggest-ever real estate acquisition. Equity Office shareholders will receive US$48.50 a share, an 8.5 percent premium to Friday's closing price of US$44.72, the companies said in a statement released by Business Wire on Sunday. The Equity Office board unanimously approved the offer for the real estate investment trust on Sunday night. Including the assumption of Equity Office debt, the total value of the transaction is US$36 billion, making it the biggest leveraged buyout in history.

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